Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe

plate of cookies

Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie recipe? Here’s mine. Easy to make, fun to decorate, and a surprise kiss or star in each!

  
Chocolate-Filled Christmas Bon-Bons

3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 dozen chocolate kisses or chocolate stars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If using chocolate kisses, cut the tops off before starting. You will have to force yourself to eat the tops, or give them to a spouse or child.

Mix shortening, sugars until fluffy. Add the egg, extracts and beat well. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Press each ball around a chocolate star or kiss until it is completely enclosed. (If dough is soft and sticky, add an additional 1/4 cup flour.)

Bake for 10-12 minutes on ungreased cookie sheets. Decorate with icing and/or sprinkles and jimmies in Christmas colors.

Recipe will make 3 1/2 dozen.

What is your favorite Christmas cookie recipe? Have you started baking yet?

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7 Time Management Tips for the Holidays

Peanuts sing Chrsitmas carols

If holidays bring you more stress and worry than peace, you might enjoy the following 7 Time Management Tips for the Holidays listed below. Knowing how creative you are, I believe you’ll find at least one tip you can use.  

  1. Break chores into baby steps.  You can wrap three gifts or bake one batch of cookies or address ten cards at a time—there’s no rule that says you must do everything from start to finish in one sitting. Some tasks—like addressing cards—can be combined with watching a Christmas movie or chatting on the phone to Aunt Bernice.
  1. Reward yourself when you finish a less-than-enjoyable task. Drink a cup of eggnog, call a friend, or read a chapter of a Christmas novel.

to do list vs. to be list

  1. Ask yourself, “If I had time to do only ONE thing on my list, what would I do?”
  1. Use paper plates, cups, and plastic ware to save time doing dishes. If you explain to guests, “I’d rather spend time with you than to wash dishes,” they’ll feel complimented. If using Grandma’s china for Christmas dinner is a non-breakable tradition, reward the kids in the family to help you clean up by letting them have first dibs on dessert. If you wait till clean up is finished before serving dessert, those dishes will get done lickety-split. Snoopy and woodstock sing Christmas carols
  1. Listen to Christmas music while doing houseworkit will help it go faster.
  1. Never wait till the last minute—something will always come up to delay your finishing on time. Allow plenty of leeway for interruptions and glitches.
  1. Learn to say “no” without apologizing. Your time, health, and emotional stability are worth more than pleasing every elf in the workshop.

What time-saving tips do you use during the holiday rush?

splashing-joy 

How to Predict Winter Weather

drawing copyright Ron LevellieThe Woolly Worm Report

Did you know there is a surefire way to predict winter weather? According to early American folklore, you can forecast the harshness of an upcoming winter by examining the brown band around a woolly worm’s middle. The thinner the brownish red band, the harsher winter will be.  

But I have my own methods.  As we go on a walk up the country lane near our home Fallat Nevins and I spot a woolly worm scooting across the pavement, I’ll note its coloration. If it’s dark brown or black, representing the bare earth, I predict a mild winter with no snow. If it’s orange—a happy, warm color—I maintain the upcoming winter will be warmer than usual. And if the woolly worm is white or tan, I report that winter will be fast and fun, with snowfall only on Christmas Eve.

Scientific? Hardly. Accurate? Rarely. But my overly biased woolly worm reports make us laugh every time. And giggles help us get through the long, freezing months better than gripes.  I imagine even the woolly worms laugh. At me. 

Jesus face accurate famous

I may not be able to predict the weather, but I’m convinced that the Apostle John predicted accurately when he told us Jesus is coming soon. I hope you and I will spend eternity together with Him, in that lovely city where every day is bright, and every woolly worm gives a sunny report.

Heart of Humor Final front cover 400 x 150The above is an excerpt from my book The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul, a combination of funny stories and articles on how humor helps.

Do you like Winter? If not, which is your favorite season?

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Need Emotional Healing?

A Prayer for Emotional Healing

      I had planned a post on pet peeves, but that will have to wait. This is a chapter from my book, Touchable God. I trust it’s what you need today.

                                                      When You Need Emotional Healing

          My friend is tired to her gut, Lord. She’s tired of pretending she’s okay when she wants to scream and weep and sink into the earth and never hurt again. You know how she feels, for you felt that same screaming ball of nothingness in your belly as they draped You onto two wooden beams, then nailed you fast, so You wouldn’t escape the pain. A pain not only physical; but the vilest soul pain that You were separate from Your Father’s heart and His gaze that kept You close, and His voice that wrapped You.

          The Father turned His back on You, and You bore it so we wouldn’t need to. Yet, she bears it anyway; broken and not knowing she can be whole. Or empty of hope for even a scrap of a put-together life.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

           Jesus, Shepherd who never leaves a sheep alone, hold her until the hurt leaves. Tell her she’s not a disappointment to You. Sing her songs You composed only for her and no other, so she’ll feel Your custom-made love and know You had a reason for her. Show her that reason in a thousand ways, dear Mender of Broken Lives.

sad crying broken heart

           She knows she’s broken, but she doesn’t know why, or she doesn’t want to know for fear the pain is all her fault. Set her free with the truth that the thief has stolen her joy and ripped her value away. Shine the light of Your admiration for her into the deep places she’s not aware of, so she’ll believe and not argue when You say, “I love you, daughter.”

             Grace her to release offenses she’s held tightly in her fists and locked in the oldest diaries of her memory. Cause her to walk upright, gazing into Your broad smile of forgiveness and strength. Guide her steps to sweetest life. Make her believe that she can be whole, as she rests in the crook of Your arm and listens to Your lullabies.

In Jesus’ Name, so be it.

References to Scripture: Matthew 27:46; John 10:11-17; Psalm 139; John 10:10; I John 4:18

Secrets to Stress Relief for All Seasons

In my six+ decades, I’ve learned some secrets to stress relief for every season: 

In the Spring and Summer, I grow vegetables to relieve stress. 

Digging, pulling weeds, and tugging baby carrots and onions from the soil–even the smell of tomato plants--soothes and relaxes me. 

 


In the autumn, I bake. Kneading dough, mixing pumpkin bread and Christmas cookies, then inhaling the warm, spicy smells that dance across the kitchen make me feel safe and cozy.

As to winter, well. . . never mind. We won’t talk about that today. 

How do YOU spell relief when you are stressed? Heres Splashing hope on you Jeanette signature

How to Talk to Your Pets

Buddies Pokey and Rocky

 If you have pets, you know how fun and enlightening a  conversation with them can be.

     My twenty-pound, orange and white cat, Rocky (shown above hugging his buddy, Pokey)clambers onto  the  love seat while I’m reading. His nose nudges my hand.  “Meowrrr?” he says.

     “What’s that, Rocky?”

     “Meowrrr?” he says again. He probably thinks I should have listened the first time, and then he wouldn’t need to repeat himself.

smiling cat

I force my gaze from the book to scratch his head. His amber eyes glisten with joy. I once read in a mini-paperback while waiting at the checkout counter that cats hear high tones better than low ones.

I want to make sure Rocky knows I care, so I raise my voice three notches.  “What’s goin’ on today?” I squeak.

“Meow,” he says, closing his eyes. Is he disgusted at my Minnie Mouse talk, or in kitty heaven?

Just to make sure, I switch to baby talk. “Tell me all about it, Rocks. I know you understand these things.”

He purrs, and arches his back. Good—it’s kitty heaven. “Meow,” he answers.

“That’s wonderful,” I chirp, “I’m so glad to hear it.” I return to my book, still petting him in an absent-minded fashion. “You are so wise. You amaze me every time we talk.

dog looking at man pixabay

Dog owners tell me that words are unnecessary—their canine pets can read moods and communicate with their eyes and body language. The owner of a pot-bellied pig used in therapy claims the little porker can help patients overcome depression. The day of my brother’s funeral, my uncle’s talking macaw gave me a huge release from my grief by making me laugh.

I might one day consider owning these other types of pets. But I’d hate to lose that unique ability to communicate with my cats in their own language.

Heart of Humor Final front cover

The above slightly-exaggerated story is an excerpt from my book, The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul.  

Do you have pets? How do you talk to them? 

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5 Ways to Fight Dementia and Alzheimer’s

5 Ways to Fight Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Did you know you can avoid and fight dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? The Alzheimer’s Association recommends four simple ways to circumvent these demonic maladies, and I have added one of my own:

1. Keep active physically. Exercise and physical activity that increases your heart rate maintains healthy blood flow to your brain, cheering on the growth of new brain cells.


2. Eat like a healthy person. Low-fat, low-cholesterol
diets right in antioxidants like colorful fruits and veggies, grilled fish, oatmeal, beans, yogurt, turkey, leafy greens, garlic and nuts can contribute to lowering cholesterol, which helps fight Alzheimer’s.

3. Stay socially involved. If you interact with others regularly, your stress levels may stay lower than those who are loners. Lower stress levels contribute to healthy connections among brain cells.


4. Keep doing mental chin-ups. Read a book on a topic you’ve never studied before, work harder
Sudoku or crossword puzzles than you’re accustomed to, play a challenging game such as Scrabble or Dizzios, and have a stimulating, analytical conversation with a close friend. These activities stimulate and exercise the brain and may even create new nerve cells.

5. (mine) Talk for life, not death. The writer of Proverbs says,

 “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” If you lose your car keys or forget your favorite uncle’s name, instead of saying, “Oh, I guess I’m getting Alzheimer’s,” say, “I will find those keys-Lord, please lead me to them,” and “I know I know his name; it will come to me.”

Use the power of words to your advantage, to strengthen your brain, not weaken it. Don’t buy into the popular idea that you have to go downhill mentally as you age. Think positive, eat and act positive, and speak words of faith over your brain, and you will fight dementia and Alzheimer’s and WIN!


Which one of these dementia-overcoming tips are you going to implement into your life today?